The Washington Capitals stopped a three-game losing skid with a victory over the Red Wings on Sunday. Now the reigning Stanley Cup champions will try to turn that into a winning streak when they host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Michal Kempny got the game-winning goal with less than four minutes left in regulation in Washington’s 3-2 victory over Detroit that ended the 0-2-1 run. Coach Todd Reirden moved around some players on his lines, mostly at center, looking to give the struggling offense a jolt.
Those moves helped out, and Reirden said that shaking things up is sometimes needed.
“Sometimes you just give a little bit of a different look and a different spark to guys,” Reirden said to the media after the game. “To me, it all comes back to opportunity. Something I said two games ago is that guys who take advantage of that opportunity are going to stay in there and get another chance, and it’s something that we’ve seen the last couple of games here, and it’s a good moment for our team.”
Washington’s power play has struggled of late, something that was a strength for the team during its run to the Stanley Cup last spring. In fact, the Caps are only 1-for-31 on the power play in their last 10 games — something the team’s going to have fix.
Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded his 300th career point in the Detroit win, as well. Kuznetsov repeatedly skates on the top line with Alex Ovechkin, and Tom Wilson has rejoined the duo.
This threesome created lots of trouble during last season’s playoffs, and also earlier this season. But Reirden moved Wilson to the second line (right wing) upon his return from injury.
Despite the team’s recent struggles, the Capitals (25-12-4) are still in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 54 points. They’re two points ahead of Pittsburgh and three in front of Columbus, teams Washington knocked off in the playoffs last season.
The Flyers (15-21-6, 36 points) are coming off of a 3-0 loss to St. Louis at home on Monday night. Philadelphia has struggled all season and comes into this game last in the Metropolitan.
What’s worse is they’re mired in a seven-game losing streak, two of which came in overtime. They have also been blanked six times this season, tied with Vancouver for the most in the league according to NHL.com.
The Flyers could start Mike McKenna in goal, whom they recently claimed off waivers from the Canucks after they acquired him from Ottawa. For the 35-year old goalie, it would be his 35th career game.
Since Carter Hart played Monday and made 34 saves, they might go to McKenna so that Hart won’t have to play on back-to-back nights. If so, McKenna told the Flyers’ web site that he’ll be ready to go and is adjusting to life with his new team.
“I know it would probably be different for someone who had never had this happen to them before,” he said. “(But) I’ve walked into a lot of new locker rooms over my years. You almost have kind of a skill to try and get to know everybody.”
Philadelphia’s best offensive weapon so far has been left wing Claude Giroux. He tops the team with 46 points (13 goals, 33 assists). They’ll need help from him and others in Washington on Tuesday.
–Field Level Media